Linux 4.12 Should Be Another Exciting, Featureful Cycle

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 21 April 2017 at 07:26 AM EDT. 5 Comments
If all goes according to plan, the Linux 4.11 kernel will be officially released this weekend and therefore the Linux 4.12 merge window will immediately open for two weeks. There is a lot on our radar for Linux 4.12.

Among the likely material we've been tracking for Linux 4.12 features are listed below.

- Our favorite subsystem, the Direct Rendering Manager. As usual, there's a lot of DRM driver changes.

- Most notable to the DRM tree for Linux 4.12 is initial Radeon RX Vega support. But before getting too excited, this support for the next-generation AMD Vega GPU lacks any physical display capabilities as the DC (formerly DAL) code isn't landing for Linux 4.12. So when Vega launches next month, Linux gamers and others will still need to use the AMDGPU-PRO hybrid driver or build your own out-of-tree kernel build to get Vega working with display capabilities. Hopefully DC will finally land for Linux 4.13 to allow Vega display, HDMI/DP audio, open the door for FreeSync, etc.

- Exciting for Intel's DRM driver is enable atomic mode-setting by default.

- The Nouveau DRM driver code is also exciting this round as it contains initial accelerated GeForce GTX 1050/1060/1070/1080 support as well as for the Tegra X2 in the Jetson TX2 developer board. This Pascal acceleration for the consumer cards comes thanks to Nouveau DRM driver work by NVIDIA and they have now released the signed firmware images needed for this hardware support. But don't expect too much out of it with Linux 4.12 as there isn't any Pascal (or Maxwell) re-clocking so the performance will be slow.

- As mentioned yesterday, the BFQ I/O scheduler is finally being mainlined as excitement for a lot of Linux enthusiasts.

- Intel 5-Level Paging support to expand the virtual/physical address space for Linux systems.

- For those running Linux on modern Intel hardware, more P-State clean-ups and optimizations are coming for 4.12.

- A Mux Controller Subsystem has been proposed.

- There's also the 4.12 proposal for the TEE subsystem, the Trusted Execution Environment.

- Likely EXT4 statx support for this new system call added to 4.11.

- We are still waiting to see whether Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM) will make it for Linux 4.12.

Stay tuned for more Linux 4.12 feature coverage and benchmarks in the weeks to come.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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